March 29, 2011 - 8:20pm
BY JORDAN KRISTOPIK
I ate a lot of food this weekend. Seriously, a lot. I was up north for the long weekend (whoo!), with a big group. And we like to eat. We had chili, cornbread, goat cheese dip and crackers, dark chocolate cake, cookie dough ice cream, a cookie cake, venison burgers, pancakes, waffles, eggs, homemade hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and Kahlua (yum!), and maybe an apple or two (you know, for something healthy). Hey, it was my birthday, okay? But the best thing I ate this weekend--by far--was the lasagna.
Lasagna is the ultimate potluck food. It can be made ahead of time, feed an army of people, and it tastes delicious. So when this hungry group of co-eds came calling, lasagna was definitely on the menu.
My cooking-partner-in-crime is a lasagna connoisseur, and she created a plan of action: one meat and one veggie. But this wasn’t your typical noodles, sauce, and cheese casserole. We loaded it with two kinds of sauces, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach and three kinds of cheese. The meat lasagna had ground chuck and ground turkey. After baking them in the oven, the whole cottage smelled ridiculously good. There couldn’t have been a more welcome dinner after a long day of skiing (okay fine, making snow angels).
Two giant pans fed all fourteen of us. And then we had seconds. And I’m pretty sure someone ate a few more slices in their drunken rage. Needless to say, it was a huge success.
--1 Box of Lasagna Noodles
--2 jars of tomato sauce (we used one chunky, the other smooth), 15oz each
--1 zucchini, sliced
--6oz button mushrooms, sliced
--½ bag of spinach
--15oz ricotta cheese
--½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
--4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
--1lb of ground meat (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a DEEP (this is important!) 13x9 pan. Boil the lasagna noodles with a drizzle of olive oil, drain, and set aside. Brown the meat in a sauté pan if using, and the set aside.
Make the cheese mixture. Combine all of the ricotta, all of the Parmesan, and 3.5 cups of the mozzarella. Lightly beat the eggs and mix them in the cheese mixture until well combined.
Mix the ground meat into the tomato sauce if you’re using it.
Layer it all! First put ¾ cup of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Place four noodles overlapping across the bottom. Spread half of the cheese mixture across the noodles. Place half the mushrooms, zucchini, and spinach next. Pour about 1/3 of the sauce over that. Repeat again, starting with the four overlapping noodles. For the third layer, place four overlapping noodles on. Then cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. There is no cheese mixture of veggies in this layer. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake (on a cookie sheet to prevent a giant mess in your oven) for about thirty minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until your lasagna is browned and bubbling.
Slice into big, hearty pieces and enjoy. It won’t last long. Serves about 10, unless if you all want 2 slices (trust me, you will).